The United States Law Week

Supreme Court Adopts Rules Changes Aimed at Modernization (1)

April 25, 2019, 7:45 PMUpdated: April 25, 2019, 8:43 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court adopted amendments to federal appellate and evidentiary rules intended to make them more modernized and user-friendly.

These amendments will take effect on Dec. 1, unless Congress enacts legislation to the contrary.

Amendments including those to Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 3, 5, 13, and 25 reflect a national rule adopted in 2018, which mandates electronic filing and service in civil cases.

The amendments to Rule 3, which now requires “mailing” a notice of appeal, would allow “sending” such a notice, for example.

The amendments to Rule 25(d)(1) would “eliminate unnecessary proofs of service when electronic filing is used,” according to the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The court also adopted amendments to Rule 26.1, which governs disclosure requirements intended to help judges decide if they have to recuse themselves.

The rule would now require disclosures about nongovernmental corporations seeking to intervene on appeal, identification of organizational victims in criminal cases, and disclosure of all debtors in bankruptcy cases.

Amendments to Federal Rule of Evidence 807 would eliminate the requirement that residual hearsay prove a “material fact,” among other changes.

Amendments to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure would include new Rule 16.1 to address discovery and disclosure in criminal cases.

It would require attorneys for the government and defense to confer and try to agree on timing and procedures for disclosure, no later than 14 days after the arraignment.

It’s an effort “to statutorily move things along more quickly,” said New York white collar criminal defense attorney Michael F. Bachner. “It’s helpful but not earth shattering.”

(Adds comment from Bachner on Rule 16 in last paragraph. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick L. Gregory in Washington at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com; Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com

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